Movement Control Impairments Exists in Young Academy Footballers

Femoracetabular impingement (FAI) is now a well recognised condition in footballers. Not only does it cause hip pain in the active footballer but can also lead to the development of osteoarthritis causing disablement in later life.

This recent study observed nine male academy footballers aged 12 -1 8, with a diagnosis of FAI (from magnetic resonance imaging) and hip / groin pain. These young footballers performed the small knee bend (SKB) test and observation of movement control impairments were noted.

All 9 footballers demonstrated movement control impairments and hip control was problematic particularly flexion and medial rotation.

So what does this tell us:

  • movement control impairments are present in young footballers with symptomatic FAI and hip/groin pain.

The implications of having impaired control of hip flexion and medial rotation is of increased risk of antro-medial impingement at the hip. If inefficient postero-lateral hip muscles (gluteals) fail to decelerate and control hip flexion and medial rotation this can contribute to groin pain and signs and symptoms on FAI.

The SKB test (image above) is a quick and easy test to apply in the clinical situation to evaluate the efficiency of hip control.

Botha N, Warner M, Gimpel M, Mottram S, Comerford M, Stokes – 2014. Movement patterns during a Small Knee Bend test in Academy Footballers with Femoroacteabular Impingement (FAI). Working Papers in Health Sciences 1:10 Winter 2014